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UCS E-Series: A Platform for Innovation | Inside the Branch

We’re in November now, so of course it’s getting chilly outside – even here in California! This means the holidays are right around the corner and retailers are gearing up for their busiest time of year. A growing trend these days is that more than half of holiday shoppers with smartphones plan to use these devices while shopping (53.8%, National Retail Federation). What better motivation for retailers to increase sales in all of their stores this season than by enhancing customers’ shopping experience with something like Facebook?

On the other side of town unfortunately, the holiday season goes hand-in-hand with the sniffling and coughing brought on by the winter cold and flu season. As usual, doctors will expect an influx of patients in their offices in the coming months. IT staff at hospitals need to prepare for the increased medical data traversing through the network and beyond.

Cisco UCS E-series on the ISR-AX is a consolidated solution in a single platform. With this solution, retailers can virtualize and host POS, video surveillance, and other applications.  Doctors in medical offices of any size can focus on taking care of their patients rather than worry about the network slowing them down.

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Cisco and Its Partners Drive OpenStack Innovation and Adoption

OpenStack sure has come a long way since the first Design Summit in San Antonio back in November 2010.  As my team prepares to attend OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong this week, you’d never know that just three years ago there were just 250 people at the first public OpenStack Design Summit that kicked off what has become one of the fastest growing open source projects ever.  This week, more than 4000 are expected to attend the Summit, representing more than 500 companies and nearly 50 countries. What makes this Summit just as exciting as the first is the progress we’ve all made delivering on the mission laid out back in 2010.

To produce the ubiquitous open source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

The OpenStack community continues to innovate at an even greater pace with 910 contributors to the new Havana release, a more than 70 percent increase from the Grizzly release six months ago. More than 145 OpenStack ecosystem members employ developers who contributed to this release. While there’s still more work to do, most of us feel OpenStack has reached the level of maturity and deployment success that’s needed for production deployment by organizations of just about any size.

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Simplifying Cloud Infrastructure Deployments with Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco UCS and OpenStack

In three short years OpenStack has become cloud management platform that is “Too Big to Fail” (according to Citi Research). Whether it is true or not, OpenStack is definitely gaining traction and is making a profound impact not only as a viable Cloud management option, but also on the software economics for Cloud solutions.

Cloud computing is rapidly transforming businesses and organizations by providing access to flexible, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructure. These elastic capabilities help accelerate the delivery of infrastructure, applications, and services with the right quality of service (QoS) to increase revenue. Cisco’s approach—innovative and unified data center infrastructure that provides the underlying foundation for OpenStack technology—enables the creation of massively scalable infrastructure that delivers on the promise of the cloud.

Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with OpenStack provides the foundation for flexible, elastic cloud solutions enabling speed and agility.  As the saying goes “Every Skyscraper is built on a strong foundation of pillars”, the OpenStack platform requires the core requirements from the underlying infrastructure – simplification, rapid provisioning, self-service consumption model, and elastic resource allocation. Cisco UCS uniquely provides a policy based resource management model, which simplifies by integrating compute, networking and storage with the ability to scale and automate deployment.

This foundation addresses every stage of cloud deployment be it private or public cloud offerings. Some of primary workloads targeted for OpenStack based deployments are:

  • Self-service development and test environments
  • Massively scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions
  • High-performance, scale-out storage
  • Web server, multimedia, big data, and cluster-aware applications
  • Applications with extensive computing power requirements and mixed I/O workloads

To accelerate these cloud infrastructure deployments, Cisco has developed starter configurations focused on compute-intensive, mixed or heterogeneous and storage-intensive workloads. The various server nodes are typically sized to include the OpenStack controller, compute, Ceph storage, Swift proxy and Swift storage.


Cisco UCS Solution Accelerator Paks for Cloud Infrastructure Deployments

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 10.12.12 AM

Scaling beyond 160 servers can be implemented by interconnecting multiple UCS domains using Nexus 3000/5000/6000/7000 Series switches, scalable to thousands of servers and to hundreds of petabytes storage, and managed from a single pane using UCS Central in a datacenter or distributed globally as shown in figure.

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OpenStack@Cisco – Havana release and IceHouse Summit

Earlier in this month the OpenStack community came out with the biannual OpenStack release – Havana. According to the OpenStack Foundation, not only did Havana add close to 400 new features across Compute (Nova), Storage (Swift), Networking (Neutron) and other core services, it also provided users with more application-driven capabilities and more enterprise features.  Two new projects – Heat (orchestration) and Ceilometer (metering) were integrated into OpenStack during the Havana release as well.

One area of focus in Havana for Cisco was on the Neutron project.  This included contributions to enhance the Neutron Cisco plugin framework, feature additions to the Nexus plugin for physical Cisco Nexus switches, introduction of the new Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch plugin and actively leading and participating in the design of the Neutron Modular Layer 2 plugin framework. This datasheet captures more information on the new features of the Cisco Nexus Neutron plugin (for physical switches) for OpenStack Havana. Cisco’s contribution in these and other areas, such as Layer 3, Firewall and VPN network services are reflected in this Stackalytics  report of Neutron contributions for the Havana release.

 pie  table

We are now just a few days away from the OpenStack IceHouse Summit taking place in Hong Kong. Cisco is premier sponsor for the Summit and is also participating in several sessions and panels to make the Summit a success. To secure a slot in the General Session track at the Summit, interested candidates including Cisco’s OpenStack team submitted speaking proposals in August that went through an OpenStack community voting process. The details of the proposals can be found in this blog. Based on these results, Cisco’s team is now leading or participating in 10 session and panel discussions. The following table (sorted by session timings) captures details of the accepted sessions –

Track Session Details
General Session Panel: The CTOs of Cloud November 5 2:50pm – 3:30pm
AsiaWorld-Summit-Hall 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Apps on OpenStack OpenStack for Enterprise Developers: Should they care? November 5 3:40pm – 4:20pm
SkyCity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriot Hotel)
Related OSS Projects Panel: OpenDaylight: An Open Source SDN for your OpenStack Cloud November 6 11:15am – 11:55am
Skycity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriott Hotel)
Strategy OpenStack, IaaS and the Future of Application Aware Infrastructure November 6 12:05pm – 12:45pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: The Future of Networking in the Cloud November 6 2:00pm – 2:40pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Product & Services Deploying OpenStack with Cisco Networking, Compute and Storage November 6 3:40pm – 4:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: Agile Networking with OpenStack November 6 4:40pm – 5:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Operations Deploying federated Openstack deployments on ipv6 backbones Experiences, Directions and Architecture November 7 9:00am – 9:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Community Building Panel: Ideas, tools and examples for OpenStack Groups November 8 9:50am – 10:30am
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Technical Deep Dive OpenStack Neutron Modular Layer 2 Plugin Deep Dive November 8 11:00am – 11:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)

In addition to the above General Session tracks, the Cisco OpenStack team is also leading the design sessions in the Neutron project on Connectivity Group extensions for applications, Modular Layer 2 plugin, Network Function Virtualization with Service VM’s and Services Framework.  An enhanced constraint based solver scheduler will also be discussed with the community within the Nova project. The schedule for the general sessions is here and for the design sessions here. If you are interested in attending any of the general or design sessions be sure to mark your calendar.

Finally, we are showcasing in the demo theater “Scaling OpenStack with Cisco UCS and Nexus” on Wednesday, November 6th 12:40pm-12:55pm and will be present at the Cisco booth (booth B6 in the exhibit hall) with the following demos  –


Quad Hours

  • OpenStack UCS demo
  • N1KV demo on OpenStack
  • Seamless-Cloud on OpenStack demo
  • Constraint-based Smarter Scheduler for OpenStack demo (short demo here)
  • Tuesday, November 5th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 6th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Thursday, November 7th from 8:00am to 4:00pm

We are excited to be there at the OpenStack Hong Kong Summit and we hope to see you there as well ! For latest information, visit us here.

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UCS E-series Meets Applications | Inside the Branch

Needle and thread. Fire and wood.  Peanut butter and jelly.  Just a few things that are essential together so that you can sew, keep warm and well, is just yummy.  So what happens when the data center-class server blade for the branch meets applications?  That’s the topic discussed in the 2nd episode of the Inside the Branch: UCS E-series episodes.

Last week was the series premier of our 5 part series on UCSE.  Hugo and Jay discussed the basics of the product and some key facts we should know.  In this episode, Hugo met with Vidya, our guru in charge of Cisco applications for UCSE.

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